Together stronger – The importance of collaboration

Image Credit: 
Marco Rivadeneyra via Unsplash
10 February, 2021


The past 12 months have proved that collaboration between voluntary sector organisations is important. But while the pandemic has led to some impressive examples of sharing knowledge, resources and energy between organisations, a report by NCVO highlights how unequal the current system can sometimes be.

The Rebalancing the Relationship report is the result of a project which began in 2018, looking at competitive commissioning and collaboration in public service delivery. The report’s main message is that, for many reasons, trust levels between organisations is low. Highlighted issues include:

  • Large organisations naming smaller bodies as subcontractors on bids, but not honouring promises of work (known as ‘bid candy’).
  • Submission of unrealistic bids which lead to low-quality work.
  • A gap in knowledge-sharing and acknowledging progress made by previously commissioned bodies where a new organisation is commissioned.
  • Not being realistic about an organisation’s strengths and weaknesses, and whether other organisations may actually be better placed to carry out the work.

It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as the report does include examples of successful collaboration between organisations. 

The refugee, asylum seeker and migrant sector in Bristol is another example of how organisations approached collaboration strategically. With Voscur acting as an independent facilitator, Bristol Refugee Rights organised a local steering group and interviews with 15 different organisations involved in the area of focus.

Beth Wilson, Director of Bristol Refugee Rights, describes how the results have been hugely beneficial to those working in the city: “The pandemic brought a unification that has fuelled better collaboration and created a commitment to the sector, as it provides the best way to help those in need. It brought us out of our individual organisation focus and helped us realise we are stronger together and can do much more.”

Voscur is here to support the VCSE sector – if your collaboration or partnership needs support and advice, please get in touch. Take a look at Voscur’s training opportunities to find out how you can grow as an organisation, and become a valued member of the local VCSE sector.

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